Author Topic: 32ft on a manual  (Read 19259 times)

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David Drinkell

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2013, 06:58:05 AM »
I don't think there is.  I'm quite surprised that, among very large instruments, there aren't more manual 32' reeds compared to flues.  I should imagine that a manual 32' reed could be useful more often than a flue, even, for example, under a big principal chorus.

pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2013, 02:14:59 PM »
I don't think there is.  I'm quite surprised that, among very large instruments, there aren't more manual 32' reeds compared to flues.  I should imagine that a manual 32' reed could be useful more often than a flue, even, for example, under a big principal chorus.

I should have thought that the opposite were true, David.

I found the short-compass 32ft. on the Primary G.O. at Norwich Cathedral quite useful, to underpin a sort-of grand Plein Jeu. However, a 32ft. reed, unless it was of very quiet fagotto tonality, would probably sound 'grunty' (it this is even a word). And, if it was that quiet, surely a well-voiced flue (such as a quiet mild string) would do the job equally well.
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David Drinkell

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2013, 09:03:19 PM »
A few things come to mind.  One is Bonavia Hunt's observation that a Father Willis-type Contra Hautboy would be an ideal 16' double for a medium-sized chorus (diapason too heavy, bourdon too thick, geigen too stringy, he said - I don't think quintatons came within his orbit).  I reckon that the same would apply to a 32' in a big chorus, adding gravity without too much thickness.  I've just looked it up, and I see that Donald Harrison had a 32' Contra Fagot on the Swell at Salt Lake City, which bears out what I am thinking - that a 32' reed would effectively broaden the effect of a large organ without thickening it too much.

One should not forget certain portions of the French repertoire, where both hands are high up on the keyboard and a substantial sub-unison is needed to keep the balance right.  Some large Cavaille-Coll organs have a sub coupler on the Great for this very purpose - I have one here and it comes in handy at the end of some French sorties, etc, even when the Double Open is already drawn.   Norman Cocker recommended a recipe for this sort of piece which involved drawing all the doubles and upperwork, but no unisons, together with any couplers that were available (which to him meant a full set on all manuals).

The 32' bourdon, which seems to be the most common manual 32', is essentially a thickener rather than an enrichener (?).  Peterborough Cathedral, before the last rebuild, could put out a prodigious unisonous mass of 32' bourdon, 16' diapason, flute and dulciana, 8' phonon, three diapasons a whole lot of other voices, etc.  It was very impressive in its way, although we might not do such things very often now.  In general, I find an open double more useful and less cloying.  I use the Great double open quite a lot - more often than the Swell Bourdon - and there is a nice little 16 Dulciana on the Choir which can add just the right amount of gravitas, even at 32' pitch when coupled.  Similarly, the open 32 at Liverpool is more useful than the bourdons elsewhere and I think an enclosed 32' reed might  be similarly handy.

There are one or two 2' manual reeds about (Leeds Town Hall - I can't think of any others, maybe they're even more rare than 32s), which expand the reed chorus upwards (I bet they're a pain to keep in tune, though).  I could see the point of a 32' swell reed to broaden the full swell downwards, both in its own right and to fully embrace a big Great when coupled.

Then there's the accompaniment aspect.  A 16' reed with the sub on can be handy in the psalms when there's a bit of smiting to be done or the weather is clouding over.  A quiet 32' reed would be fun, especially with the right assortment above it (every organ should have a Vox!).

Finally, if there's a soft 32' reed on the manuals, it's going to be useful on the Pedal.  The enclosed Contra Trombone at Redcliffe can come in very useful.

I think one or two American megatheria have 32' gambas on the Swell.



« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 05:48:49 AM by David Drinkell »

David Pinnegar

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2013, 09:10:11 PM »
Perhaps someone more expert than I might clarify but apparently Dom Bedos recommended 32ft on manuals and there is one built into the modern instrument at Rieti. . . .

 Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Light_bulb

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2013, 09:38:41 PM »
The Dunedin Town Hall organ in New Zealand has a 32' reed (TC) on the Swell. The rank is a 16/8/4 unit reed. That organ has 3x 16' reeds, no actual 32' reeds.

Gwas_Bach

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2013, 10:38:52 PM »
Jean Guillou's organ in St Eustache has a 32' Contrebasson in the Récit.

http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/en/component/k2/item/403-sainteustacheparis-en.html

pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2013, 11:44:33 PM »
Jean Guillou's organ in St Eustache has a 32' Contrebasson in the Récit.

http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/en/component/k2/item/403-sainteustacheparis-en.html

Indeed.

I have played this instrument once (with Guillou registering for me), although I cannot particularly recall the effect of the 32ft. reed on the Récit. (Or even if I actually used it.)

With regard to 2ft. clavier reeds - I can only think of one example; the Clairon Doublette on the G.O. of the Cavaillé-Coll instrument in S. Sernin, Toulouse.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 01:31:26 PM by pcnd5584 »
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pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2013, 11:50:31 PM »
... Then there's the accompaniment aspect.  A 16' reed with the sub on can be handy in the psalms when there's a bit of smiting to be done or the weather is clouding over. ...

Surely in order for this to be effective, the reed in question would need to be of slender scale and with the minimum of tonal 'body' (which would, arguably, make it rather less suitable at its own pitch) - otherwise the sound would be muddy and heavy. I have to avoid this type of registration on my own church instrument for this very reason. The Swell Double Trumpet is not small in scale and, if I were to use it with the Sub Octave coupler, the result would be thick, gritty and unpleasant.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

David Drinkell

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2013, 08:43:21 AM »
Small-scale and fairly free, I think.  After all, an organ which ran to such a stop would have something else for the big 32' pedal reed effect.  I'm thinking more growl than mere flatulence....

pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2013, 09:07:53 AM »
Small-scale and fairly free, I think.  After all, an organ which ran to such a stop would have something else for the big 32' pedal reed effect.  I'm thinking more growl than mere flatulence....

It would certainly have to be a fairly large instrument; even with a half-length bass octave, the expression box would need to be quite large.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

David Drinkell

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2013, 02:57:18 AM »
When Casavants sent us a new tuner a few years ago, he said something quite interesting in Quebec French (a very good language for swearing) when he saw the size of our Swell box, which contains 15 stops of 73 note compass including a 16' Gedeckt, a full-length Double Trumpet, 3 8'reeds and 6 8' flues.  The Choir Organ, on the other side of the chancel, is completely encased with shutters on the front and top, and has a 16' Pedal Dulciana in the case, plus another full-length 16' Dulciana about six feet behind it in the Choir box.

David Pinnegar

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2013, 01:44:05 PM »
Hi!

The Rieti specification is on http://www.organosandomenicorieti.it/dombedos2.htm where you'll see the 32ft Montre on Grande Orgue

I'd love to visit that instrument! Unfortunately it's inauguration coincided with the Icelandic volcanic eruption which caused a potentionally amazing trip to be cancelled . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

londonorganist

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2015, 01:25:07 PM »
Has anyone heard the organ at Paisley Abbey?

That has a very french character (C-Coll heritage of course!) and a great Sub-Octave. I would think that a SO would be more useful than a 32', as the music where such pitches are required (french romantic) were written primarily for organs with such stops.

Interesting nonetheless! I think some organs have stops simply because they look impressive! (this is certainly the case at Liv Anglican! There are some wonderful stops on the Liverpool organ, but several stops don't really seem to have much purpose other than being there for showing off! The Tibia is particularly notable.

pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2015, 10:56:54 PM »
Has anyone heard the organ at Paisley Abbey?

That has a very french character (C-Coll heritage of course!) and a great Sub-Octave. I would think that a SO would be more useful than a 32', as the music where such pitches are required (french romantic) were written primarily for organs with such stops.

Interesting nonetheless! I think some organs have stops simply because they look impressive! (this is certainly the case at Liv Anglican! There are some wonderful stops on the Liverpool organ, but several stops don't really seem to have much purpose other than being there for showing off! The Tibia is particularly notable.

I have only heard this fine instrument on recordings (which is, I realise, no real test).

I am inclined to agree with you regarding the G.O. Sub Octave coupler - in this instance. However, this device only really works with French (or, at least, quasi-French voicing); otherwise, an unpleasantly muddy and confused effect is likely to result. One thing which I noticed when playing larger instruments by Cavaillé-Coll (for example, S. Etienne, Caen), is that the use of the G.O. Octaves Graves - even with the Montre, Bourdon and Bombarde drawn  (all at 16ft. pitch), results in a wonderfully grand and full sound (if one does not play too low down in the compass). The same effect, if tried on the average large three-clavier English organ, is likely to result in the aforementioned problem. This is due partly to the voicing of the double reed, which generally has a more slender bass, with a freer tone - and, importantly, much less 'body', than, say, a Willis Double Trumpet - or (God forbid), an Arthur Harrison Contra Tromba.

The organ of Gloucester Cathedral (also re-designed by Ralph Downes) has  such a device - although here it is limited to the West G.O. flues. The engraver was probably paid in vintage single malt for his work on this draw-stop alone, since it reads: 'West Great Flues Sub Octave'.... (I think he was given a nice bottle of Baron d'Artigues 1971 Armagnac for the other tricky one: 'West Great Flues on Man. IV'.)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 11:03:27 PM by pcnd5584 »
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Ludus57

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2015, 03:53:29 PM »
I played the organ in Paisley Abbey last August. It must be one of the most exciting organs in the country! The quiet stops sing, the flue choruses have just the right feeling of presence and refinement, and the tutti is devastating in all the right ways! Harrisons did a phenomenal job building on the 1968 Walker/Downes work. It just has to be heard and played to be experienced. I cannot speak too highly of it. Make the trek to Paisley and experience it for yourself. As an added treat, meet with Dr George McPhee, the organist. He is a real enthusiast, and is clearly - and justly - proud of such a fine instrument. I rate him as one of our greatest organists, and as a former Germani pupil ( thus a member of a very select band), maintains the highest standards as a player. I am very pleased to be able to put so many superlatives in one paragraph. I mean every one! Go there and be astounded.
I would add that it makes a very interesting exercise to look at the 1928 HNB instrument on the NPOR
and look at what the Walker rebuild did to it.

pcnd5584

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2015, 09:17:25 PM »
I played the organ in Paisley Abbey last August. It must be one of the most exciting organs in the country! The quiet stops sing, the flue choruses have just the right feeling of presence and refinement, and the tutti is devastating in all the right ways! Harrisons did a phenomenal job building on the 1968 Walker/Downes work. It just has to be heard and played to be experienced. I cannot speak too highly of it. Make the trek to Paisley and experience it for yourself. As an added treat, meet with Dr George McPhee, the organist. He is a real enthusiast, and is clearly - and justly - proud of such a fine instrument. I rate him as one of our greatest organists, and as a former Germani pupil ( thus a member of a very select band), maintains the highest standards as a player. I am very pleased to be able to put so many superlatives in one paragraph. I mean every one! Go there and be astounded.
I would add that it makes a very interesting exercise to look at the 1928 HNB instrument on the NPOR
and look at what the Walker rebuild did to it.

I really must try to get to Paisley - perhaps this summer. I am very interested in your thoughts on this organ. In addition, a full description of the 1968 re-designing of this instrument (together with its previous incarnation and its original Cavaillé-Coll stop-list) can be found in Ralph Downes' book Baroque Tricks.

What of the acoustic ambiance - is it lively, or dry?
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

TanundaGrandOrgan

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Re: 32ft on a manual
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2017, 11:49:45 PM »
The Sydney Town Hall organ has a 32' TC stop on the great. I think it's a bourdon, but i'd have to check.

 


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